There's an undeniable romanticism to Grant Lee Phillips' compositions and while there's an obvious connection to Americana, for want of a better label, there's also something more worldly and less obvious about the music Grant Lee Buffalo produce.
Mine and YourZ (truly) were listening to Mighty Joe Moon in the car the other night and I was again struck by how broad the landscape of this album is, reminding me more of some of the great Australian artists than anything else. The beauty of Phillips' vocal delivery, shifting with ease between his unique falsetto and grittier mid-tones, as best exemplified in the hauntingly beautiful Mockingbirds.
There also exists a broad traversal between Grant Lee Buffalo's recordings and live work. I recall seeing this band many years ago at an inner-city venue in Sydney. They were just about the loudest band I'd ever seen, particularly for a three piece. At the same time, the clarity of their sound was superb, not drowned in distortion, as so often was the case with many of the bands I saw back then.
Mighty Joe Moon is an album of many shades, not, as the name could imply, of moonlit darkness. It is like time spent in a desert, where warmth and light (It's The Life /Side By Side) quickly give over to chill and dark (Sing Along / Demon Called Deception). But underlying it all is a natural beauty, where the listener is transported to a wonderful landscape. It is a heck of trip but oh so worth it and completely worthy of being named a Forgotten Gem.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP and drift away
What's not to love? Beautiful tunes, lush arrangements and a lead singer who can actually sing - the question is, why didn't I take the time out to listen to GLB before? Especially as Mr Phillips has guest starred on one of my favourite TV shows - Gilmore Girls - many, many times.
His role as the Troubadour of Stars Hollow is only one of the many musical guest appearances on the show. With music such a big part of the script, plus its relentless pace, sneaky pop-culture references and sparkling wit it's no wonder I fell in love with the show. In fact I got really cheesed off reading an interview with Skid Row-er Sebastian Bach when he was annoyed at being recognised for his role on Gilmore Girls, rather than for his own music. Surely, dude, any publicity is good publicity? Plus, you got paid for the gig, right?
Aaaanyhoo, I really liked Mighty Joe Moon and I vote we own more GLB. Oh, and I loved their version of We've Only Just Begun on the compilation If I Were A Carpenter which I will be voting we review - somewhere down the line...
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.grantleebuffalo.com/
In our collection we also have Fuzzy and Copperopolis